Pan fried trout with garlic butter is easy to prepare yet crazy delicious. Adding homemade garlic butter enhances the mild flavor of the fish. Pan frying trout can be done over an open fire while camping or in your backyard, or in your kitchen on the stovetop to enjoy any day of the week.
Fresh trout is a perfect summertime dish. This rainbow trout recipe uses the whole fish flavored with homemade garlic butter, which is all it requires to let the taste of the fish shine through to perfection. The fresh trout can either be store bought or your own catch of the day.
How to make garlic butter
Homemade garlic butter is so easy to prepare with only 4 ingredients. This garlic butter recipe goes so well with the mild tasting flavor of this fish. While cooking the trout in the pan the butter will slowly melt away over the fish.
Start by using salted or unsalted (whichever you have at home) butter at room temperature. So don’t forget to take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before making the garlic butter so it can soften. Place the softened butter in a small bowl, add grated garlic, lemon zest and finely chopped parsley and mix together well until you have a smooth paste. Add salt to taste or when using unsalted butter. Cover and set aside for later.
How to cook trout
The trout is, of course, the hero of this dish. If you have not caught the trout yourself, make sure you buy a fresh fish at the grocery store or fishmonger. They are mostly sold gutted and with the scales removed but still with the head and tail. I usually ask to have the head and tail removed, as in this recipe.
With a sharp knife make 3 small cuts in the skin of the fish on one side. Add a little bit of garlic butter to each of the slits and spread the rest of the butter evenly inside the trout.
Trout has a very delicate skin which comes off easily when grilled or pan fried. One way to avoid this is to coat the fish with a bit of flour. If you do, this is a personal choice. I prefer to just cook the trout naturally with a bit of olive oil in the pan.
Heat some olive oil in a non stick skillet or pan on medium to low heat. Place the fish carefully in the pan with the buttered side to the top. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to fry for 6 minutes still on medium to low heat.
After 6 minutes, carefully turn the fish and let the fish cook for another 6 minutes. Please note that this cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
The best way to cook trout, especially when cooking a whole trout with skin is to be patient and wait a couple of minutes before turning the fish, otherwise the fish might fall apart and the skin will stick to the pan. Give it time to cook through on one side and only then turn. You only need to turn once!
How to serve trout
This pan fried rainbow trout can be eaten with one or more side dishes. A great choice is a plain and simple green garden salad, or this Spanish tomato bread. Other side dishes to consider that go really well with cooked trout are:
- Shaved fennel salad
- Dill pickle potato salad
- Homemade mango salsa
- BBQ grilled potatoes
- Mediterranean roasted vegetables
- Oven roasted fennel and carrots
More fish recipes to try
- Smoked salmon tartare
- Lemon baked whiting with roasted vegetables
- Dogfish stew with fennel
- Grilled calamari rings
- Smoked salmon with pineapple salsa
Pan fried trout with garlic butter
- 2 whole fresh trout scaled and gutted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Garlic herb butter
- 4 ounces (or 100 grams) salted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley very finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon seasalt optional
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, garlic, lemon zest and parsley and mix well. Optionally add sea salt to taste. Cover and set aside in the fridge4 ounces (or 100 grams) salted butter, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, ½ teaspoon seasalt
- With a sharp knife, make 3 small slits in the skin of the trout on 1 side only. Spread a bit of garlic butter in these cuts and then the rest of the garlic butter evenly inside of the trout.2 whole fresh trout
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet on medium to low heat. Add the trout with the buttered/cut side up. Cover with a lid and fry for 6 minutes. Turn the fish over, put the lid back on, and cook for another 6 minutes.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Serve immediately and garnish with chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
- When buying fresh trout from the store it is best to cook it the same day.
- Optional: lightly coat the skin of the trout with a thin layer of flour before pan frying. The skin will hold together better and it will be easier to turn the fish.
- Make sure to only turn the fish once, so leave it to cook for a full 5-6 minutes on one side before turning. The more you turn and handle the fish, the larger the chance of it falling apart.